Cabinet of Curiosities, a horror anthology presented by famed Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, is an eight-episode expedition across the dark recesses of the human soul and the world we see around us. Del Toro introduces each episode by opening a secret compartment of a cabinet, and then speaks about its theme and introduces the director.

Pickman’s Model is based on a story by famous horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, whose works have been an influence on the TV series Stranger Things.

The story follows an artist called William Thurber (Ben Barnes), who is rather impressed by a new student in his art college who draws gore and monsters instead of going for the beauty in the world. This student, Richard Pickman (Crispin Glover), draws in his sketchbook in a graveyard in the middle of the night.

Also Read| Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities episode 4: The Outside ending explained

When Pickman sends a drawing for the art competition at their college, the professors are horrified with what they see. Thurber chooses to go to Pickman’s house to find out more about his paintings, but ends up getting so affected by what he sees that he begins seeing hallucinations. He even sees his would-be father-in-law involved in weird sexual acts with a prostitute.

The story then shifts to the future when Thurber is married and is the father of a little boy. Suddenly one day, Pickman re-emerges out of nowhere and now everyone thinks he is a modernist master whose works need to reach a wider audience.

Thinking that people will be as affected as he was by Pickman’s art, Thurber requests the fellow members of his artists’ society to not let Pickman’s exhibition materialise.

Also Read| The Last Of Us season one to release on January 15, 2023, with nine episodes

Pickman, who knows what Thurber is suffering from, later goes to his house and has a fun time with his son. Thurber doesn’t take kindly to how his wife gawks over Pickman throughout the course of their dinner

Pickman then requests Thurber to come to his house and view his works, and says that he only trusts Thurber to be a true judge of his art. When an artwork Pickman sends to Thurber’s house causes him and his son to have nightmares, the latter decides to visit Pickman’s house to kill him.

Once in the house, Pickman takes Thurber to the basement, where he tries to burn the paintings. When Pickman tries to protest, he accidentally shoots him. Soon, a monster comes out from a well inside the basement and drags away Pickman’s body. This is when Thurber realizes that the subjects of Pickman’s paintings are not imaginary beings. They do exist in his own house.

Also Read| Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities episode 3: The Autopsy ending explained

Despite destroying the paintings, he finds that they are back at the exhibition in the exact condition. His wife, who had a chance to view them, was so affected by the paintings that she gouged out her own eyes and cooked their son for dinner.

The ending puts forward the question of whether there is place for the perverse in art. The perverse, gore, and horror are not only from the imagination of the artist, but the horrors they witness all around. If the world is nasty, why can’t it be reflected in art?